Energy bills

 

     On August 8th 2011 I wrote on this site that energy prices were the biggest political issue needing attention. Many now seem to agree with me.  The cost of EU and UK energy policy is increasing, just as some of us feared. In the last two weeks has come the shock announcements of major hikes by two of the big six energy companies, meaning even bigger bills ahead. The high cost of renewable energy, carbon taxes, emissions based closures,  and the costs of closing and replacing older oil, coal, and nuclear plant is catching up with us.

    When I checked my bill I  noticed it had  gone up not just because gas and electricity are dearer, but also because I have used more gas for heating over the last year. I well remember that as late as May I was getting up when the outside temperature was just a few degrees above freezing.  On  more occasions  the central heating triggered because it was so cold. It also started to deliver cold evenings before August was out.

It is one of those ironies as we tackle global warming  that in recent years in the UK we have had some colder  and longer winters. Whilst we did at last get some hot days this summer, it felt  autumnal in the early morning and in the evening before  August was  out. Before adjustment, the heating started  to trigger early again.

      Many, especially the frail and elderly, will not be able to cut the increase in  their bills by using less, as they are already on prudent  settings and need to keep warm. Indeed, if we have a very  cold long winter they may have to use more, not less. The government should be generous to the ill and  the elderly who have to incur higher bills, through its pensions and disability benefit increases, cold weather payments and the like.

I will continue to press for cheaper energy. Household bills are too high primarily because the fuel cost is too high. The industrial revival the government seeks will need much more cheaper energy to power it. The EU experiment with very expensive renewable power from unreliable sources like wind will not power our factories or keep us warm on a regular basis. To do that we will need those standby power stations burning gas.

An energy price freeze which does not include protection against wholesale energy price rises cannot help. Nor does it help if you need to burn more to keep warm.  The underlying reality is that Mr Miliband, Labour and the EU signed us up to much dearer energy than the US or Asia enjoys. There may be arguments at the margin over how much of the great extra cost is paid for by customers, and how much by taxpayers in subsidies. As they are largely the same people it does not make a lot of difference. What matters is when and how we are going to cut loose from the very dear  energy strategy we are locked into.

I am told the government is working on ensuring the older standby coal and oil stations to generate electricity are available should need arise. Next year they intend to secure back up supplies for days when not enough wind blows. It just serves to remind us of the extra costs the renewables policy is imposing, as both these methods of ensuring security of supply cost extra. The government has started to cut the allowable costs of renewables and needs to do more in that direction. The way to cheaper energy is through an energy mix that is more based on lower  price and efficiency.

  This crisis has been building for more than a decade.Previous posts include:

August 8 2011 Energy prices

May 18 2012  Cheap energy can be energising

July 29 2012  Green energy makes some people see red

August 28 2012   Germany switches to coal

December 5 2012   Drill Davey, drill

March 27 2013    Letter to the Energy Minister

April 27 2013   The UK needs cheaper energy for an industrial revival

June 29  2013  Keep the lights on Mr Davey

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186 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    The market has been skewed by payments to renewables,EDF would never have been able to negotiate a price of almost £100 per MW hour (almost twice the current wholesale price) for new Nuclear but for the price paid for power generated by Wind.
    Cut the subsidies and repeal the 2008 Climate Change Act.
    The UK still only produce about 2% of the worlds CO2!!!

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      As you say “The UK still only produce about 2% of the worlds CO2!!!”

      Co2 is a clean, harmless plant and crop food that just might increase the world temperature very slightly and very probably to the net overall benefit if the world.
      Certainly it increases plant and crop growth, as indeed does warmth.

      Anyway what is the point of merely exporting jobs and CO2 emissions to other countries as this government are with the current religious policies and the absurd climate change act?

      • uanime5
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        CO2 is toxic to humans and is currently causing the average global temperature to rise. High CO2 levels aren’t benefiting anyone and are causing famines rather than crop crop growth.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

          Anything even including water is toxic to humans in sufficient quantity. Co2 is a helpful & harmless plant food at the concentrations we have or are ever likely to have, even if we burn all the fossil fuels we can extract.

          • uanime5
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

            CO2 is toxic to human in small quantities, so it’s not harmless.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps you should tell Coca Cola & the beer, fizzy drinks, bread and champagne producers that CO2 is toxic to humans in small quantities. Oh and everyone that breathes too.

          • APL
            Posted October 20, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

            uanime5: “CO2 is toxic to human in small quantities, ”

            And you can drown in as little of three inches of water. So what?

            There is absolutely no sign that the level of CO2 in the general atmosphere will reach toxic levels ever. Not even the most swivel eyed prophecies from the highest of high priests of Global Warming have ever claimed that we are all going to suffocate because of the level of CO2.

            You’re really out on a limb – even by your extreme standards.

        • Big John
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          @uanime5
          I suggest you try looking at the actual data.
          Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose 10 percent between 1995 and 2012, yet global temperatures did not rise at all.

      • Mark
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        It’s now as little as 1.5% of the global total, compared with around 6% in 1965. No other country can begin to boast of such a reduction, especially in the face of rising population.

    • Hope
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      It is not just stand by power stations to help useless wind mills that do NOT produce enough energy for our needs it is stand by diesel powered generators, how is this helping the environment? Moreeovtche subsidies are ridiculously higha and gas and coal power stations being taxed out of the market. They are being bought by the government at huge cost to the taxpayer to overcome black outs because they shut coal fired power stations. We cannot afford the Labour, Lib Dem and Cameron green energy. There is nothing green about diesel powered generators to make up for the shortfall in wind generated power!

    • oldtimer
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      SSE say, on the leaflet accompanying the notice of the next price increase, that government regulation for environmental and social schemes accounts for 8% of my total bill. It is set to increase much more in the coming years as more and more subsidies on ineffective energy sources and the grid network to connect them have to be paid.

      The UK`s energy policy is a scandal. The device to load the environmental costs on consumers through the bills they pay is the second scandal. It is a case of the political class trying, and succeeding, in shovelling the blame for these costs on the energy companies rather than on themselves. So much so that Ed Miliband earns kudos by criticising them for raising prices caused by measures that he himself legislated!

      • Mark
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        Since households account for roughly a third of electricity consumption, you will be paying the equivalent of another 16% of your bill in the bills you pay for goods and services. That is, the policy really costs the average household a sum equal to about a quarter of the bill already – and that sum will rise.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Given how much nuclear plants cost to build and operate (nuclear materials require very high security and long term storage) even without the Climate Change Act the price would have been much the same.

      • stred
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        Mr Osborne announced, during his trip to Chinaa, that the Chinese would be invited to participate in building the new nukes. This seemed a good move, as their costs are way below European. The French went about building their first nuclear stations in a sensible way, building the same design many times. Unlike the UK, which built different designs, most of which were not economic. The new station built at Flamainville has had huge problems and costs 3.45 times as much as the old ones per kWe, according to the Word Nuclear Association site. The Chinese are now building their nukes as the French did originally using the same American type design. Their future costs are estimated at £1000 kWe as against the new French design at £3121. Chinese construction time is also only 4 years.

        Of course, as Mr Osborne said, the British taxpayer can’t pay for the new nukes through tax ,as it would mean too much borrowing. So this is how Messrs Huhne, Davey and Barker have gone about getting the best deal.

        1. Sell the prime nuke sites to EDFrance. As they were short of cash, we lend them most of the money from a bank owned by the British taxpayer.

        2. Negotiate with the French, who expect that their increased costs at Flamainville will apply, having now ironed out the problems.

        3. Agree to a price for the electricity higher than wind, despite the fact that the WNA gives the comparative price of energy as -European nuclear- 5- 8.2 -China 3- 3.6, Wind onshore- 9- 14.6, Wind offshore- 13.8- 18.8, Photo Voltaic 28.7- 4.1.

        4 Announce that the Chinese will be participating in the building of new nukes. However, they will only be helping the French and learning how to deal with European regulation. And how to get a very high price from the negotiators at DECC.

        • stred
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          oops PV 28.7 to 41.0

          • stred
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

            The source of the comments in the moderated post was the World Nuclear Association- economics of Nuclear Power, as allowed last week. the dollars and euros have been converted to £.

        • APL
          Posted October 20, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          Stred: “Mr Osborne announced, during his trip to Chinaa”

          Look what successive Tory and Labour governments have done to us! We mostly pioneered nuclear technology. Now we have to buy it in from totalitarianism regimes.

          In any case we don’t need expensive foreign nuclear technology, we could simply develop the Thorium nuclear reactor – the US had a functioning reactor in the ’50s – the Thorium cycle just doesn’t lend itself to proliferation. Which is why it hasn’t been developed much.

      • Hope
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Coal fired power stations would be fine. Look at Asia, China and the US they are opening more not shutting them because of fallacy science from the EU.

      • Big John
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Rubbish, France which is 80% nuclear and has the cheapest electricity in Europe with 14 cents per kWh compared to Denmark’s 30 cents.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    “What matters is when and how we are going to cut loose from the very dear energy strategy we are locked into. I am told the government is working on ensuring the older standby coal and oil stations to generate electricity are available should need arise.”

    Let us hope so, but we still have Ed Davy and Greg Clarke types in the Government Departments nothing has changed. Though thank goodness the dreadful Huhne has gone, though not for the right reason of his bonkers green religion.

    Still I see the absurdly expensive & bonkers green deal has “helped” 12 homes!

    We still have absurd IPCC reports saying they are ’95 per cent’ certain that climate change is man made, yet they cannot explain why the world has barely got any hotter in the last 15 years. We are still exporting jobs to countries with energy prices as little as 1/3 of those in the green religion afflicted UK.

    How many more years of no warming will it take before these priests finally admit their absurd over the top exaggerations are drivel. Or at least the government start to ignore them. If it doesn’t agree with experiment it is wrong that is how science works!

    The problem is the BBC, schools, the IPCC, “charities” and politicians have all spent billions indoctrinating the (largely scientifically illiterate) population in this absurd “devil carbon dioxide” exaggerations of catastrophic global warming.

    Retreat is rather hard to do, without all these organisations looking like the complete liars, fools and hypocrites these pushers of quack greenery clearly are.

    Electric cars, wind farms and PV make little sense with current technology, even despite the fiscal and subsidy government warping of the playing field.

    Research in to them perhaps but rolling them out now with expensive grants is economic lunacy.

    • Bob
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      ” the absurdly expensive & bonkers green deal has “helped” 12 homes! “


      What is the cost per home and how long will it take to pay back?

      “How many more years of no warming will it take before these priests finally admit their absurd over the top exaggerations are drivel.”


      Religious leaders never admit to being wrong, they just quietly drop things that have been discredited adapt to changing reality.

      “The problem is the BBC, schools, the IPCC, “charities” and politicians have all spent billions indoctrinating the (largely scientifically illiterate) population in this absurd “devil carbon dioxide” exaggerations of catastrophic global warming. “


      If we as individuals stopped funding the brainwashing broadcasting corporation, the population might snap out of the trance they’re in and the rest would take care of itself.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        You are quite right the Huhne, Davey, Debden, Gore types will probably just claim they have brilliantly solved the (non) problem and merely move on to some new religious construct of an invested man made vision of hell that they can save us from if we do as instructed by them!

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 6:54 am | Permalink

          invented (not invested) sorry.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      We still have absurd IPCC reports saying they are ’95 per cent’ certain that climate change is man made, yet they cannot explain why the world has barely got any hotter in the last 15 years.

      The evidence shows that the average global temperature has increased over the past 15 years. Your attempts to dismiss this because it didn’t meet your standards for temperatures rises won’t change this.

      How many more years of no warming will it take before these priests finally admit their absurd over the top exaggerations are drivel.

      In an earlier paragraph you admitted that there had been some warming over the past 15 years. So when exactly did this period of no warming occur?

      The problem is the BBC, schools, the IPCC, “charities” and politicians have all spent billions indoctrinating the (largely scientifically illiterate) population in this absurd “devil carbon dioxide” exaggerations of catastrophic global warming.

      Just because you don’t like that the evidence proves you’re wrong doesn’t make the science wrong.

      • libertarian
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Try reading the latest IPCC report Uanime5 Even the IPCC now disagree with you on temperatures over the last 15 years

      • Big John
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        > Just because you don’t like that the evidence proves you’re wrong doesn’t make the science wrong.

        Where is this evidence you speak of ?

        I will repeat.

        Looking at the real data, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose 10 percent between 1995 and 2012, yet global temperatures did not rise at all.

  3. Bazman
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Not one criticism of the energy companies John is this some sort of apologist piece? Could you name one other industry that could put up their prices by 10% and not see a fall in profits or some sort of backlash from customers? But lets face it after so many price rises they will be doing all they can already. As the price of energy rises and ‘green’ means efficient with appliances and houses needing ever smaller amounts of energy will we see rises to maintain profits and help build new infrastructure?
    What you will find in reality is large swathes of the population will just not switch on their heating. Using outdoor clothing instead. What will happen then? Rises for those that do?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Bazman–So “outdoor clothing” is the problem now, eh? Baloney–A major part of the real problem, created out of thin air in the last few decades is the difference now apparently mandatory between inside and outside temperatures. People wanting to run around all but naked indoors is not the answer, far from it, and there is nothing wrong whatsoever in a suitable vest or long johns when necessary–the double thermal underwear that it is easily available works a treat especially if we are to be told all the time about people dying. I am very sure I am not alone in having grown up not having even heard of central heating and ghastly plastic double glazing not to mention ruining the drying anti damp air flow through hollow walls as designed of many old houses instead of risky cavity wall insulation. We had one small open fire with one small electric fire used very sparingly and that was that. Honest Injun. In this context the minuscule rise in global warming is of course good not bad, that’s if it exists at all, as is the tiny increase in carbon dioxide which rather than being a problem is beneficent in that crops, which of course breathe the stuff (emitting oxygen), grow more strongly the more there is of it–more green you could almost say–enabling the feeding of rising populations.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        If plants aren’t given more water, sunlight, and other nutrients any extra CO2 won’t produce any extra growth. That’s why Africa is having famines despite a doubling of CO2 levels over the past century.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

          Sure, it’s all down to a twofold increase in CO2 levels and nothing to do with a tenfold increase in population.

        • APL
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          uanime5: “That’s why Africa is having famines ”

          Africa is experiencing famine because of the political situation rather than the climatic conditions.

          uanime5: “despite a doubling of CO2 levels over the past century.”

          1913 who was measuring CO2 levels then? You should have no problem producing values and verified sources.

          And similarly for 2013. CO2 ppm in the atmosphere and the verifiable source.

          Then we don’t have to take your biased assertions, we can have some facts to discuss.

        • APL
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          Re: atmospheric CO2.

          Just had a quick google and all I can find is the Keeling curve which plots the atmospheric CO2 since 1958 to the present day, it indicates when measurements started in ’58 a CO2 concentraton of 310 ppm (or so) and most recent 390 ppm.

          Now if you can give us the plot between 1913 and 1958 that’d be a help to establish if you are talking your usual nonsense.

          • APL
            Posted October 20, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

            uanime5: “despite a doubling of CO2 levels over the past century.”

            No sign of the CO2 concentrations in 1913 plot yet. I guess we’ll be justified to think you pulled your 100% increase in CO2 over a century assertion out of your backside?

        • Big John
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

          > That’s why Africa is having famines despite a doubling of CO2 levels over the past century.

          Any famine problems Africa has, is due to prolific population growth, nothing to do with co2.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          Actually the extra CO2 also reduces the water needs of plants hugely as they loose far less water from evaporation while trying to capture the CO2 they need to grow, another huge advantage.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 20, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            Pure spin and fantasy of a simpleton. Enriched oxygen atmospheres pose no danger and are breath of fresh air too?

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Companies will charge what they can get away with. Just as Lions will eat what they can catch. What is needed is a sensible government policy, less green religion interference and more and fair competition and perhaps easier fixed for a time comparisons and less confusion marketing.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        They will charge what they can get away with, but these are not private companies in a free market are they? Nor can be.

    • alan jutson
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Baz

      A sensible posting.
      Not much point in switching if they all charge a similar amount, it just gives you grief.
      Our house has had cavity wall insulation, and a good level of loft insulation for 30 years, and the thermostat is set at 17 with a timed programme being the norm.
      Only on constant cycle on vary rare occassions.
      When additional heat is required in the lounge we simply put on the gas fire.

      We still have the old boiler( installed when I buil;t the house 32 years ago) and am looking to change it for a more up to date one, now that they are at last becoming more reliable.
      Not much else I can do really, other than as you say, put on more clothes or go to bed early.

      But

      Why am I paying to insulate other peoples houses, with additional payments on my Bill, when I have done all I can ?

      Why am I paying to give an income to those people with roof bling that is inefficient, and looks awful ?

      Why am I paying to keep power stations on standby just in case the wind stops blowing ?

      Then of course I have to pay tax to the government on all of the above.

    • James Sutherland
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      It isn’t the energy companies diverting customers’ money into crazy green waste, or insisting on closing down the most cost-effective generators to force us onto more expensive ones with better political connections.

      If I strap solar panels to my roof, I get paid to use my own electricity. Where do you think the money for that economic absurdity comes from? Other customers’ bills, of course!

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Exactly and even if PV cell were economic a roof is an inconvenient and expensive place to put them especially in the cloudy northern UK.

        • stred
          Posted October 20, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

          I went on a solar course and learned that planning permission is needed for an installation against a south facing garden wall, but not on the roof, where is is visible. Even building control treat PV as allowable, but require a fee and permit for new roofing, insulation and the scaffolding needs a licence fee.

    • sm
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Apart from any other consideration or causation, if I were running a major company and an Opposition Leader said that in 2yrs’ time he would freeze my charges should he gain power, the first thing I’d do is up my prices NOW to cover my back!

    • libertarian
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Bazzy

      I know you don’t do logic and rational argument but here’s a few things to consider.

      The government has raised its prices, and does so every year

      You claim that the planet is dying because of the extra heat caused by AGW so why isn’t heating energy consumption falling?

      Taxpayers have been funding home insulation schemes for years now, see above

      Taxpayers have been funding renewables why isn’t this cheap energy being made available?

      On the stupid assertions about business pricing, stick to being unemployed Baz you dont get markets. Supply and demand its called

      I do agree the cost of energy is way too high, thats why government needs to slash the tax, carbon duties and energy subsidies that it wastes our money on.

      I also notice that you predict a rise in the purchase and use of outdoor clothing, I’m surprised as you are one of the trolls for the green carbon scam that you aren’t supporting the installation of domestic windmills and solar panels. Surely thats the answer to higher energy bills?

      • Bazman
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        No answer to profiteering by the big six energy companies. Are you denying they are in any way profiteering in an unfair and murky way. They are transparent in their accounting and profits? No green energy, but massive subsidies for nuclear being given to foreign owned companies maybe China. China?! Could be tricky politicly. Why not a deal with Russia then?
        As for being unemployed this is your fantasy is 40-50 hours and sometimes more unemployed? Look back at Johns ‘Living within you means’ post to see my answer to this. My wife works full time and we claim benefits too. like millions of others. Oh Dear…! Ram it.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          So you are profiteering too Bazman. Am I the only one paying for everything?

          • Bazman
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

            Profiteering from what? Work?

      • uanime5
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        As long as energy companies can charge as much as they want no amount of tax cuts will be able to offset it.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          Its the tax that drives up the cost.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            This is not in the main what has caused the large rises even by right wing apologist figures. So what else has driven up prices? privatisation has reduced prices has it? Tell Sid. How many still have their shares in the last sell off that paid a few quid, but put up prices and wages for the char man by 900%.
            Your apologist stance neo liberal stance is looking silly libtard. Ram it.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

      Where is your evidence of price fixing by the big six? In a cartel, everyone charges the same price for the same goods or services. In a perfect market with an infinite number of suppliers, theoretically everyone charges the same price for the same goods or services. So can’t tell just by looking at the prices. You might also have noticed that the energy industry’s return on capital is lower than that of the big food retailers; nobody in their right mind accuses them of overcharging.

      A competing oligopoly of six is slightly different. All companies charge approximately the same price for the same goods and services. There is a kink in the demand curve in the vicinity of the market price. If you charge less than the market price, you only gain a little market share. If you charge more than the market price, you lose significant market share. This is the economic theory. I am sure that John Redwood can not only confirm the theory of competing oligopolies but give you several examples. It will all be to no avail; there is nothing more futile than telling a populist Socialist that he’s got it wrong.

      It’s transparency that’s wanted. The big six should be forced to display a little table on the first page of their web sites. Each tariff would have a one line entry in the table.
      – Name of tariff
      – Quarterly standing charge
      – Price per unit consumed
      – Dual fuel discount
      – Discount for payment by direct debit
      – Earliest date that a price hike is allowed

  4. lifelogic
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Also it actually makes little sense to tax fuel for car transport (mainly to get people to work) at 150% and yet oil fuel for heating houses at almost nothing. It is the same oil gives off similar emissions. Why should someone perhaps over heat all of a huge house, free of tax and yet someone else not be able to afford to travel to work? Nor to not tax electrical fuel for silly (with current technology) battery cars but tax petrol and diesel at 150%. Level the playing field.

    Not does it make any sense to burn bio waste from the US at 3 times the cost of coal. We have perverse incentives and an energy policy of the mad house. Nor does HS2 make any economic sense.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Well, it’s not really bio WASTE that Drax power station is burning (though that is their aspiration) -what is happening is that trees in USA/Canada are being cut down specifically to make wood pellets which are shipped to UK and burnt. So, burning this stuff doesn’t reduce landfill (a benefit Drax claim) as it is not “waste” at all.

      • alan jutson
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Roy

        Exactly

      • peter davies
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        And the ships that cross the Atlantic to bring all this wood here are powered by what?

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps they have thousands of Greenpeace cyclists on board, fed only on lentils and peddling stationary bicycles that drive some side paddles or something equally absurd. Or perhaps they have a huge wind turbine on board to generate electricity (if and when the wind blows) and that then drives the ship. One assumes it takes about three years in transit.

          Or maybe they use one hundred Nissan leaf car batteries to drive the paddles. These would clearly be no dafter than using the biofuel waste (wood) instead of coal or gas to fuel the power station.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          Actually bulk shipping is very cheap.

          I recently saw a TV programme about the largest container ship in the world – various problems with bridges and ports – and it is incredibly economical to shift stuff around the oceans.

          http://www.worldslargestship.com/coming-to-your-tv-discoverys-triple-e-documentary-series/

          It may cost more to move the wood pellets overland to and from the ports at each end than to move them across the Atlantic.

          • peter davies
            Posted October 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

            its not the cost I’m talking about – its the CO2 generated to move the stuff

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        Some executive at Drax said burning this expensive wood shipped from the US to Drax was “counter intuitive”.

        I assume this is a euphemism for “bloody bonkers but Davey say we have too”.

      • stred
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        They have found that if the whole tree is used the sums do not add up. The pellets are made from the offcuts, which require less drying. They must have to sell an awful lot of trunks, given the area required is the same as Rhode Island every year.

        One of the reasons for the price hike is that they have to add the cost of lining the pipes of the whole gas main network, put in at the time of the dash for gas. The decision on which mains are cracking up and how to upgrade them is down to a private company. They are paid for the work through the customer’s bill. There is no customer representation in the decision. When I asked the workmen doing the work in our street they said they had found one crack in another street.

        Apparently, the Minister looking after consumer interests is Greg Barker. He seems very keen on wind generation and the huge spending on new transmission lines. Also, they are proposing a link to Iceland to their geothermal station, even though this will make another miniscule proportion of capacity. I wonder whether the Icelanders would consider paying for it themselves, as they will be making money sending their free energy to us. But then they have Mr Barker looking after our interests.

      • APL
        Posted October 20, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Do they ship the Ash back to the USA?

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Nor does HS2 make any economic or environmental/energy conservation sense.

      • peter davies
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        I read somewhere that they have had to scrap the 250 Mph capability because the routes available make it impractical – that being the case the argument has therefore shifted to capacity.

        If it is for capacity then a heightening a few bridges and introducing double decker trains should solve the problem without having to spend £50BN they don’t have.

        If its not that then Ministers need to admit is it to do with a pan EU rail network directive that has been flying around.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2465608/Royal-Navys-260-captains-just-19-warships-Defence-cuts-15-times-commanding-officers-vessels.html

      Another example of our political mad house.

      Reply: I set out the ratio of senior officers to other ranks in a previous blog. This showed a far higher ratio of senior officers in the army than in the Navy or Airforce. The rank of naval Captain is a very senior one, so most ships are commanded by someone of below Captain rank anyway.

      • Martin Ryder
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        The 19 warships mentioned are 13 Type 23 Frigates and 6 new Type 45 Destroyers. These ships are commanded by Commanders, the rank below Captain. In addition the Royal Navy has 3 large helicopter carriers, 12 nuclear submarines, 5 patrol ships, 15 mine counter measures vessels, four survey ships and 17 Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ships that maintain the ships at sea. There are also two Royal Naval Air Stations and a large training organisation. There may be too many Captains and above but the situation is not as bad as the newspaper report made out.

        One of the great problems about our society is that you cannot trust anyone to tell the truth. Reporters, Politicians, Policemen, Scientists (AGW), Doctors (Mid-Staffs), etc, etc all lie and cover up the misdeeds of others in their profession.

        Mind you I still believe that British society is in the top 10 in the world where the lack of corruption, cheating and abuse by those in power is concerned.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Not quite the same oil though small amount added to diesel will work with a great stink and possible engine damage and the possibility of a large tax bill and criminal penalty. You do not seem to understand that the government any government has decided to raise revenues via road fuel most of the world does the same. How else should they raise it if it were took off road fuel? The rich person being afford to heat his large house, but the poor one not being able to afford the fuel to get to work? Maybe work at the rich persons house huh?! Maybe he could be paid more by the rich person to be able to do this? But no you would not agree with this instead having the fuel made cheaper so the rich person does not have to pay more and the state in effect paying for this or the tax being the same and the poor man paying for the rich persons heating. How would electrical power used for cars be taxed at a different rate to household use? As you say why should it be cheaper for the house. What a can of worms you have opened, No tax is not the answer it? Have a think.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 20, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Would it not be like having cosy wood fire, but on a national scale?

  5. Andyvan
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    “as we tackle global warming”? What global warming? The only people that still believe in that fantasy are the ones that benefit financially- politicians, wind farm owners, scientists with big research grants, bureaucrats, etc. It is one big con to fleece us tax sheep yet again. The scam is ably supported by the supposedly impartial BBC who yet again shaft the very people that are forced to fund them (whenever they are not too busy promoting socialism, paying big bonuses to themselves or covering up sex crimes by their employees).
    RIP OFF BRITAIN.

    • peter davies
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      The 1.1 degree rise in Global temperatures since 1880, is what I think they are referring to

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Largely a beneficial and welcome change, let us hope it does not decline by 1.1 centigrade over the next 100 years, as it might well do.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          Who exactly has benefit from this? It’s not the people in Africa who are experiencing desertification, crop failure, droughts, and famines.

          • Big John
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

            > It’s not the people in Africa who are experiencing desertification, crop failure, droughts, and famines.

            The problems in Africa are due to prolific population growth,
            war and civil unrest.

            It has nothing to do with co2.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            Catastrophic weather conditions all over the globe. Don’t just tell us it’s weather the get out card for anything.The banking crisis was just financial weather of which humans had no control too?

          • Edward2
            Posted October 20, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            Baz “Catastrophic weather conditions all over the globe”

            As it always has been and as it always will be.

            Don’t get fooled by the hundreds of news channels reporting every incident of severe weather instantly from all over the globe 24/7.

  6. Bryan
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    When you cede energy policy to the Libdems and green-eyed pressure groups what do you expect?

    We really are paying a huge price for carbon savings that are a mere drop in the ocean and irrelevant in the total picture.

    Mr Cameron surely is aware of this? In that case too weak to do anything about it.

  7. Robert K
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    The Didcot A and B power stations, which are within sight of my village in south Oxfordshire, have been idle since March. Some neighbours rejoice, viewing them as an eyesore. They hope the six huge cooling towers will be demolished soon. I point out to them that to replace Didcot’s capacity would involve carpeting most of the Thames Valley with 100-metre-high wind turbines. It’s ideological madness. Get our power stations back up and running.

    • JimS
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      None of the green activists and politicians seem to understand the concept of energy density. A teaspoonful of coal dust contains more energy than the mass of air in the HoC chamber moving at wind turbine speeds. Coal is a million times more energy dense than moving air.

      Technological progress has been built on ever-denser fuel sources; we are now being forced back to the technologies of the Middle Ages.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Also if we do build these millions of very expensive (and very little intermittent energy producing) wind turbines they too will affect the wind flows and thus the climate too perhaps for the worse.

        Not to mention all the bats and birds they kill, noise and the vistas they destroy and tax revenue they waste.

  8. Richard1
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Conservatives will not be able indefinitely to skirt around the main issue here. Its no good complaining about renewables policy unless the underlying cause is also tackled: do we or do we not face the danger of run-away global warming with catastrophic consequences due to man-made CO2? If we do then perhaps, as Messrs Cameron and Miliband have both made clear in the past, we will just have to put up with expensive energy, even though it means hardship and lower growth. If on the other hand, we do not (as the evidence suggests and many dissident scientists now think), then none of these green taxes and renewable subsidies are justified and should be done away with. Let’s have the courage to take the bull by the horns.

    • peter davies
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      The problem is that IPCC models upon which these policies are based appear to focus only CO2 output only when there are many other factors that also need to be considered – especially the cycles associated with the outputs of that yellow thing in the sky.

      Their research appears to limit temperature with CO2 levels which many scientists dispute.

      Also they cannot give any indication how much comes methane and CO2 leakage under the sea bed – there are millions of small volcanoes under the sea that have not been surveyed – same with under the ice caps which has a narrow crust in the North.

      There is also the other dimension – when you get large amounts of sulphur (from volcanoes) the CO2 produced becomes a cooling gas.

      As all good scientists and researchers of any type of data know and the laws of physics state – you won’t get the right answer unless you input the right questions from the right sources.

      The loonies really have taken over the asylum and we are all left to pick up the tab. It seems that if you agree with an IPCC consensus then you get funding and become part of a clique – question their findings and you are part of the loony brigade on the outside.

      • Credible
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Peter, have you actually read the IPCC report?

        If you have, which particular sections or results do you object to and why?

        I had a quick scan and, to take your first point, solar cycles are mentioned a lot in the introduction.

        ” … and the laws of physics state – you won’t get the right answer unless you input the right questions from the right sources. ”
        Those laws of physics are new to me!

        • peter davies
          Posted October 20, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          I have read the summary for policy makers.

          It does talk about the sun’s effects but does not really go into any figures on sun variations because they can’t. Its sole focus is Co2 and methane emissions.

          Whilst passing comments on the effects of volcanoes I think it is very weak on the one thing that will blow any predictions out of the water – volcanoes can erupt at any time,

          I also stand by my remarks that they cannot and have not measured CO2 leakage from the sea bed.

          Your last remark on the laws of physics – I take yr point, not the best words – I should have said and did mean “equal and opposite….”

      • uanime5
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        The sun has an 11 year cycle so it’s quite easy to take the sun’s output into consideration.

        By measuring the amount of methane and and CO2 in the ocean you can determine how much is escaping from the ocean.

        The north pole doesn’t have a narrow crust.; the deniers just made this up to try and explain why the ice keeps melting. A simple study of plate tectonics shows that the crust is thinnest along fault lines, which is why lava keeps coming out of all the volcanoes located there.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink

          Solar cycles as short as 9 years and as long as 14 years have actually been observed.

          But, as they say, past performance is not necessarily a good guide to the future.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

          “The sun has an 11 year cycle so it’s quite easy to take the sun’s output into consideration.”

          Piece of cake, I’d say, little more than simple arithmetic.

          Have you personally ever done any modelling of that kind?

        • Big John
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          > The north pole doesn’t have a narrow crust.; the deniers just made this up to try and explain why the ice keeps melting.

          Firstly the Arctic ice has not melted in step with the CO2 concentration, the Arctic has in fact recovered a bit since the 2007 minimum extent.

          Secondly the Arctic is subject to warm water intrusions from circulatory anomalies and oceanic oscillations rather than merely overall regional temperature and is not the best barometer for global temperature. The Antarctic however is not so subject to such phenomena and is more static and influenced by overall global temperatures. The Antarctic ice extent has increased over the years but we never hear about the Antarctic in the mainstream media, I wonder why.

          Thirdly, the Arctic has I mentioned before has not melted in step with the 15 year pause, it reached a minimum in 2007 but has recovered quite a bit while the global temperature is still plateaued.

          Global temperature and regional effects are governed by solar activity and solar electro magnetic and lunar modulation of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere creating changes in cloud cover which is a driving factor, but solar and lunar activity also changes the jetstream which is a primary weather driver. Multidecadal and decadal Oceanic oscillations are also a driving factor. There’s a complex interaction of solar/lunar cycles, oceanic cycles and more to create the climate and the resulting stochastic noise from these variables vastly overshadows any contribution from the trace green house gas CO2.

          • peter davies
            Posted October 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

            @Big John

            The thin crust and leakage from beneath was something I read in some journal sometime ago – not something I’m too sure of.

            In the IPCC report they referred to the sun but gave very little detail in the part it plays focusing on co2, methane and (I think) sulphur.

            Do you read this the same way?

        • peter davies
          Posted October 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          The 11 year cycle is when the sun flips its poles. They are now on what they call cycle 25 and some are anticipating a repeat of “Maunder Minimum” – the last one coinciding with the last mini ice age in the 17th century – so in addition to those cycles there are others as well.

          At the end of the day who knows? There are so many variables in climate predictions are almost like picking lottery balls.

          Mankind does need to clean up its act but I feel the strategies the UN and Western Govts have are just not fit for purpose.

    • Mark
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      If you consider that is the risk then you need to devise policy that will stop China’s growing carbon emissions which increase every year by as much as we produce in total. I’d suggest an urgent investment in shale gas would be the best route, because China itself is reckoned to have substantial shale gas resources that could substitute for their 70%+ coal use as primary energy.

  9. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Whilst China help us out with nuclear fuel, I hope that interim period where we could utilize our own fossil fuels and open up the mines isn’t delayed until the lights go out. One of the many troubles with this country is it’s inability to plan for the necessary , yet come up with super ideas for the unnecessary.

    It is only a few years ago where , I was planning how I could live self sufficiently, if energy ceased , food disappeared from the supermarkets and water stopped flowing through the taps. Do you know it did not even enter my head that I might need HS2.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Wise words Margaret.

      Tad

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Margaret – The whole point of HS2 is to get us no-where, fast.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      China helping us out with nuclear. How very charitable as without them we would be clueless..

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Bazman – Your people (Nu Labour) sold off our nuclear expertise (Westinghouse)

        The Chinese are not being altruistic. Perhaps their game is acquisition of Western assets through debt obligation.

  10. alastair harris
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    they were hardly shock announcements – in fact it would have been more shocking had they not announced rises. Its going to be energy rather than the economy that settles the next election. None of the parties are on the right side of this argument.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I can tell you one that is on the right side of the argument Alastair, and their support is growing by the hour!

      Tad

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    JR: ” Mr Miliband, Labour and the EU signed us up to much dearer energy than the US or Asia enjoys. ”
    Just remind us what was your party’s response to this? From where I sit, as so often, the three main parties in Westminster have the same policies. They are all signed up to fleecing the taxpayer and consumer with their mad “green agenda”. Even now there is denial by LibLabCon that the significant energy cost directly attributed to government action is just a starting point and set to increase inexorably and forecast to treble by 2020. Remember you are supporting a party whose leader claims to lead the “greenest government ever” – we are paying a very heavy price for it.

  12. TGod
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Along with most MP’s you voted for the 2008 Climate Change Bill but just 3 voted against it, one of them stated that he thought the provisions of that bill were too expensive.

    Do you still think that his view was wrong and that you voted the right way ?

    Reply How many more times do I have to point out I most certainly did not vote for the CC Act and wrote and spoke strongly against it at the time and subsequently.

    • Bob
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      “I most certainly did not vote for the CC Act and wrote and spoke strongly against it”

      It has to be said Mr Redwood, “speaking against” and “voting against” are not the same thing.

      Reply I would have voted against if there had been any chance of stopping it.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply,
        ” I would have voted against if there had been any chance of stopping it.” You forgot to add that your party supported it. Your action was another sad example of putting party before principle and the good of the country. You abstained to salvage your conscience. That is why all your promises about the EU referendum and threats if we don’t support your party fall on deaf ears. Your overriding principle is just the election of your party come what may.

        Reply What rubbish! I tried to persuade the party to oppose the Climate Change Act without success, and made my different view to the party clear.

      • zorro
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        Does that logic apply on EU related issues?

        zorro

      • cornishstu
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        So you went with the flow, just because you had no chance of stopping it. How do you know that as fact? how many others voted as you did who supposedly thought it was not in our best interest who could have maybe killed the bill but thought what the heck can’t win so we will vote for and that’s on both sides of the house.

        Reply NO I did not go with the flow. I refused to vote for the measure as requested by the whips and explained to the leaders of this proposal why I thought they were wrong, as I wished them to vote against.

        • zorro
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply – Maybe more would have voted against if you had committed to do so and taken the lead. Why should they have done so if you didn’t vote against the measure.

          zorro

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:43 am | Permalink

        Question on Reply–Struggling to understand this exchange–Does it mean you abstained despite speaking strongly against it? How does that work??

        Reply Why not? There were only about a dozen of us who thought the rest of Parliament was wrong. I tried to convert the Conservative leadership to oppose the 2008 Act without success.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          Comment on Reply–Sorry I am having trouble keeping up–Why couldn’t you have voted against–as you are always telling us you have done, and against the staggering odds, albeit not, from what you say, on this? This subject is hardly inconsequential having caused and being about to cause my guess of say £100 billion wasted or to be wasted and just having made the situation horribly worse.

          Reply I have often voted against the Coalition government and the previous Labour government. I did not agree with the CC Act, said so and declined to vote for it. It had an overwhelming majority in the Commons so what is the big issue? Surely your problem is with the hundreds of MPs of all parties who did thin k it a good idea and who voted it through. If I had thought we could have come anywhere near defeating it of course I would have voted against.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

            Comment on Reply–So you decided to abstain rather than vote against on something that you yourself say you strongly disagreed with. I wonder if I am alone in deprecating that. Hardly believable to me.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

            Further Comment–Apart from all else, it is now just that little bit easier for Labour, when the finger is pointed at them, to say that all bar a few headbangers voted for this. Very poor show. I thought better of you.

  13. Acorn
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    A while back, the UK became a signatory to the North Sea Countries’ Offshore Grid Initiative (NSCOGI), I assume DECC was involved. It doesn’t seem to get mentioned much on the DECC site, and it appears the UK is ignoring it and pursuing bilateral deals, that will help keep prices higher in the UK than on the continent. For instance, Germany over a period a while back, averaged wholesale €51 MWh (with significant wind), when the UK was paying €56 MWh.

    We are going to need a lot more HV inter-connectors to North Sea / Baltic nations, to level out the non-dispatchable offshore wind, and save on back-up generation on shore. Offshore wind farms should integrate there connections with a proper transmission grid that has agreed price bidding protocols across boundaries. Currently, the UK is a generation version of Treasure Island.

    • Mark
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      Germany has many borders with power links already. They can trade power in significant quantities with the Netherlands, France, and the Nordpool (Denmark/Norway/Sweden), as well as much of Eastern Europe, Switzerland and Austria – almost entirely using cheap overland power lines. Subsea cables are expensive – the more so if they are only to be used intermittently. For example, we’re spending £1bn on an offshore cable to link some Scottish windfarms to England according to National Grid. It’s precisely expensive investment in additional cabling and transmission lines that is one of the more important factors pushing up bills: the National Grid has almost doubled its charges to cover the cost.

      • Acorn
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        The current plan of connecting everything to the UK grid maintains the generation monopoly pricing. Connecting to a new North Seas Baltic Grid, some AC and some DC, will overcome that problem. (An EU plan).

        The major technical problem for the UK system is going to be them warm windy summer nights, when demand drops below 20 GW. Later this decade we will have circa 20 GW of Offshore wind and more on land. There will be times when we will be backing off Nukes (which they don’t like) and feathering props on the windmills. Under those conditions the system will lack the inertia of the big steam turbo’s and the system voltage will be swinging from Scotland to Cornwall. http://ec.europa.eu/energy/publications/doc/2011_energy_infrastructure_en.pdf .

  14. colliemum
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Yes, energy bills must come down – and we all know by now that the first step is to scrap the CCA! But isn’t it ‘interesting’ that at the same time these energy bills go up, government proposes that the WFA should be scrapped for ‘the wealthy’ pensioners. Of course, nobody knows who is ‘wealthy’ in the eyes of government …

  15. Atlas
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Indeed John it is a madhouse in all these rooms – scientific, engineering and economic.

    Science: because the Global Warming is not going according to plan therefore the computer models are incorrect;

    Engineering: because you cannot make electricity from a wind farm when the wind does not blow;

    Economic: sub-optimal investments in alternative energy now just cripple our chances for the future.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and even if it does get a little warmer (and there is certainly no guarantee of this anyway) a little warmer is better anyway. Adapting, if and only when needed, and sorting known human problems now (with proven solutions) is clearly far cheaper than the religious anti CO2 agenda pushed by Cameron and the BBC think loopies. It will clearly save far more lives and cost far, far less.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      According to the science increased CO2 levels will increase the average global temperature. This is currently happening and is within the predicted range. So the computer models aren’t wrong.

      You can’t make energy from gas once you’ve burned it all or from coal after mining it all. So from an engineering perspective both are short term solutions.

      Given that we’re running out of fossil fuels alternative energy is the only viable alternative.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

        In the medium term we need coal, oil and gas in the long term nuclear and nuclear fusion and perhaps some solar and wind – but fusion will probably be cheaper and solar is surely better for food crop production.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        First para
        Seeing the IPCC give themselves a margin from 0.1 to 6 degrees its no surprise that temperature measurements are “within the predicted range”
        Second and third para
        You are trying to ascribe to gas and coal the already failed theory of peak oil
        Gas and coal reserves and discoveries of new reserves are higher now than ever before.
        Please stop just making up this nonsense Uni.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          Nothing you said changes the fact that Altas’ claim that global warming wasn’t increasing according to IPCC predictions was wrong.

          You also seem to have ignored that new coal, gas, and oil isn’t being found at the same at as it’s being used; and much of what is found is cannot be extracted with the existing technology. So we are running out of fossil fuels.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

            Tell us what the increases you talk about as being catastrophic actually are Uni
            How many degrees is the temperature rising since say the year 2000?
            Don’t be shy do tell us.

            Your assertion on us “running out of fossil fuels” is a ludicrous left wing fantasy that has been said to be happening many times before and here we are now with another new date for “the end of the world as we know it”.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

            We have enough for 200 years or so!

          • Edward2
            Posted October 20, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

            Uni
            You are also wrong in your first para because temperatures have not increased as the last IPCC report predicted.
            Neither have the huge sea level rises predicted occurred.
            Still like when predictions of a date for the end of the world pass without doomsday happening, all you do is to quickly ignore the failure and
            brazenly set a new date.

      • Mark
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        It seems that the IPCC has decided to alter its record of what the models said, after it became clear that observations fell below the model predictions.

        (ref left out as unchecked ed)

  16. Mark B
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Energy Policy is an EU Competence (power). The UK has to go cap in hand to the Commission if we require a change in policy. We no longer have control in this matter. Parliament has ceded its sovereign right to determine our future on this issue. Ed Davey MP is merely ‘following order’s.’

    Even if our kind host were in charge, there is nothing he can do. Don’t believe me ? See Links

    http://ec.europa.eu/energy/index_en.htm

    http://europa.eu/pol/ener/index_en.htm

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Kinda makes ya sick to the pit of your stomach dunnit Mark. And all these so-called ‘Eurosceptic’ MPs who say what a bad thing the EU is, but then does absolutely nothing to rein it in. They should be prosecuted under the trade descriptions act. They don’t even know what it means to be Eurosceptic!

      UDI anyone? Could be the only way to stop the EU monster devouring what’s left of this once great nation, and to give us the right to determine what is best for its peoples, not have the will of others thrust upon us.

      Tad

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:48 am | Permalink

        Tad–UDI sounds good to me or put another way a pox on the EU and everything to do with the EU

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      It’s another one of the many “shared competences”, where the EU decides how much legislative freedom it will leave to the member states:

      “When the Treaties confer on the Union a competence shared with the Member States in a specific area, the Union and the Member States may legislate and adopt legally binding acts in that area. The Member States shall exercise their competence to the extent that the Union has not exercised its competence. The Member States shall again exercise their competence to the extent that the Union has decided to cease exercising its competence.”

      So it would not be inconsistent with the EU treaties for the EU to take complete control and leave the member states no scope at all for making decisions.

      Prior to the amendments made by the Lisbon Treaty there was nothing in the EU treaties about “energy”; along with a lot of other things it was introduced by Article 2(12) of the “Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon, 13 December 2007”, which is still on the EU’s website as a separate legal documents available in a variety of formats, eg here:

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:12007L/TXT:EN:HTML

      “12) The following new Title and new Articles 2 A to 2 E shall be inserted:

      “TITLE I

      CATEGORIES AND AREAS OF UNION COMPETENCE

      Article 2 A

      1. When the Treaties confer on the Union exclusive competence in a specific area …

      … 2. When the Treaties confer on the Union a competence shared with the Member States in a specific area …

      … Shared competence between the Union and the Member States applies in the following principal areas:

      (a) internal market;

      (b) social policy, for the aspects defined in this Treaty;

      (c) economic, social and territorial cohesion;

      (d) agriculture and fisheries, excluding the conservation of marine biological resources;

      (e) environment;

      (f) consumer protection;

      (g) transport;

      (h) trans-European networks;

      (i) energy;

      (j) area of freedom, security and justice;

      (k) common safety concerns in public health matters, for the aspects defined in this Treaty.”

  17. peter davies
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    To put some perspective on what is happening in power generation check out the UK National Grid link:

    http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

    A quick look tells us that the UK’s daily demand is 41 GW – of which 1.75 GW is supplied by wind.

    A quick calculation (if records are correct) shows that we have 2620 on shore and approx 850 offshore wind turbines operating in the UK – a huge area given their size.

    So for 3.5 thousand wind turbines which cost an awful lot of other peoples money we are getting some 4% of our energy needs (sometimes when we are lucky).

    Correct me if I am wrong but if a business made this sort of decision based on these types of figures they would a. not be in business very long or b. the decision makers would be pushed aside.

    On another angle – push the economic argument to the side and focus on the climate one. Given the effort put into building and transporting these things, has anyone measured the amount of Co2 produced to a. build them and b. transport and erect them – given that is the aim of them – right? Also in upland areas, peat holds huge amounts of CO2 – windturbines with their drainage ditches, cable trenches and access roads effectively drain the peat thus killing it off and releasing CO2 – does anyone know that?

    The 3rd part of the question is the social one. If the tax makes up 15% of our energy bills which appears to be a major factor leading to the high prices we have (if not the whole part of the story) – does the means of (high prices and carbon produced in erection) a produce enough power to close carbon emitting sources?

    And are they by association going to help reduce global CO2 emissions and by extension climate change?

    To which unless someone can answer with hard evidence (I don’t mean ranting, talking ideology and accusing me of being a denier – you know who you are) then the answers to all these have to be an emphatic NO.

    I would prefer to see the money they put into wind power into something like making N Power safer and N fusion – wind power is only any use at a micro level where it can be produced in small quantities and stored in battery banks (I intend doing it myself one day) – if there was technology to store large amounts of energy then the argument would be different.

    • Acorn
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for reminding me Peter, the Gridwatch site is a clever job of work. I had e-mail about the NETA site http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm , which is the official report site for market balancing.

      Some have trouble with rendering the graphical data. The one I use that does work is the Firefox browser with the Flash plug-in. My Chrome browser won’t do it with any version of Flash running on XP. IE8 used to work but doesn’t since I loaded Chrome a while back.

      Likewise, if we still had the CEGB we would not be in the situation we are now with electricity.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Indeed

    • uanime5
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      A quick calculation (if records are correct) shows that we have 2620 on shore and approx 850 offshore wind turbines operating in the UK – a huge area given their size.

      Correct me if I am wrong but if a business made this sort of decision based on these types of figures they would a. not be in business very long or b. the decision makers would be pushed aside.

      Without comparing the operating costs of wind power to other methods of generating power it’s impossible to determine their cost effectiveness.

      Given the effort put into building and transporting these things, has anyone measured the amount of Co2 produced to a. build them and b. transport and erect them – given that is the aim of them – right? Also in upland areas, peat holds huge amounts of CO2 – windturbines with their drainage ditches, cable trenches and access roads effectively drain the peat thus killing it off and releasing CO2 – does anyone know that?

      I noticed you ignored how much CO2 it takes to build and transport all the parts it takes to build fossil fuel power plants. In any case a wind turbine needs to work at full power for 14 days to save the amount of CO2 needed to build, transport, and erect it.

      Given that peat isn’t a living thing it can’t be killed. It also holds very little CO2 per metre squared, so the amount released is very small.

      The 3rd part of the question is the social one. If the tax makes up 15% of our energy bills which appears to be a major factor leading to the high prices we have (if not the whole part of the story)

      The main reason why energy prices increase above inflation is due to the lack of competition in the energy market, rather than taxes or the wholesale price of gas (both of which have remained constant).

      To which unless someone can answer with hard evidence (I don’t mean ranting, talking ideology and accusing me of being a denier – you know who you are) then the answers to all these have to be an emphatic NO.

      Given that you provided no hard evidence to support any of your claims, and often make it clear you don’t know what the answer is, your conclusion is deeply flawed.

      if there was technology to store large amounts of energy then the argument would be different.

      This technology already exists. You use the energy to pump water up to a high level, then when you need this energy you have the water fall down a shaft containing hydro-electrical generators, which produce energy.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        “This technology already exists. You use the energy to pump water up to a high level, then when you need this energy you have the water fall down a shaft containing hydro-electrical generators, which produce energy.”

        Yes indeed but is is very wasteful of energy, expensive and needs a huge reservoir. Cheaper to generate when needed.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          Hydroelectric power is one of the most effective ways to generate power because it doesn’t require a heat engine (which has a low efficiency rate).

          • Edward2
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

            Apart Uni, from the obvious problem in this case that you need two expensive and complex machines to produce one lot of energy.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

            Yes but it is very wasteful when used as storage and needs a large area and suitable terrain to work.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted October 20, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

            Yes, but the quantity is limited. When the Russians pulled out of Georgia, The Georgians became a lot more reliant on hydroelectric power from their rivers. Guess when the flow of rivers can be sluggish – that’s right, in Winter. In 2000, Georgians had 4 hours of mains supply each day, from 8 pm to midnight. There were private little Japanese generators all over the place, secured underneath massive iron cages.

            Ten years on, in 2010, Americans had assisted in sorting out Georgian energy supplies and the Japanese generators and iron cages had gone.

      • peter davies
        Posted October 20, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        Here we go again.

        14 days to save the power to build transport it Where does this figure come from? Built in Denmark, transported by boat, then truck – I doubt it.

        Peat holds very little C02 per metre squared Worldwide, peat degradation worldwide is est to be 2GT which is 6% of global CO2 emissions – I wouldn’t be too sure about that. Consider also that wind turbines is some places crack the bedrock so potentially damaging whole areas with the env potential of peat drying out/dying and worse still catching fire.

        I noticed you ignored the amount of co2 to build power stations this is a blog and doesn’t have the space for me to list every type of power st and do comparisons – the point is strategy, we are investing in unpredictable energy where there are not corresponding shutdowns of fossil p stations (unless the EU says so) so this is a supplementary source of power rather than a replacement. At least with NPower, Gas etc you can easily predict what outputs you are going to get and can work out the end to end metrics of cost vs income, etc.

        The main reason is lack of competition I agree it is a reason but I think its one of several, a key point being we that we saw big rises after the 2008 CCA and energy companies have been forced to invest in new technologies.

        I like the idea of energy used to pump water, I know its a duplicate system as LL says but its a model that could be managed so as to control energy usage (which turbines on their own cant do) any examples of where this is being used?

    • APL
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Peter Davis: “amount of Co2 produced to a. build them and b. transport and erect them ”

      Yes, and the Greenoids have the cheek to whinge about the concrete used in a nuclear power station.

  18. ian wragg
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    What are your thoughts on STOR John when 6,000 Megawatts of diesel generators are being installed mainly by foreign companies to provide standby power when the wind stops and the sun don’t shine.
    Diesel is by far the biggest polluter and we are paying £47,000 per megawatt capacity for the generators to stand idle and over £200 per megawatt if they bare called to use.
    Only a bunch of prize idiots could get us into this position.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      “a bunch of prize idiots” that will be it!

  19. Peter Stroud
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    The IPCC ,together with the many green activist groups, led to Miliband’s Climate Change Act (CCA): and it is this ridiculous Act that is adding 10 percent to our energy bills. But we must remember that only five MPs, all Tories, voted against it.

    It now appears that more members are joining the catastrophic climate change sceptics. Again these appear to be Tories; though I am sure there are also some sitting on the Labour benches. However, I doubt if a single LibDem has left the CAGW church.

    It would be pleasing if these sceptics would, at every opportunity, speak out about the stupidity of the Act, and the EU climate change directives. This would be unlikely to cause the repeal of the CCA. But it would show that there has been, at least, some change in our law maker’s ideas, that brings them into line with an increasing number of voters.

    • Alte Fritz
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      This could be a problem, at least if today’s Feedback on Radio 4 is anything to judge by. There is a significant body of opinion which reckons ‘climate change deniers’ so ignorant and opinionated that the BBC should afford them no air time to balance the current received wisdom on the subject.

      I’m not making this up. Listen on i player.

  20. BobE
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Beneath our feet there is at least 400 years of coal. Can’t we just find a way to clean burn it.? Didcot could be reopened and fed by our own supply.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Arranging for coal to be burnt cleanly, in the sense of avoiding the emission of harmful levels of pollutants into the atmosphere, is generally a practical proposition; that is, until it is decided to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        Indeed.

  21. Tegfryn
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Just think how cold it would be if we were not blessed with global warming.
    —————
    I’m told locally in Mid Wales that on still days the wind mills are powered from the electricity grid to turn, thus appearing to be ‘useful’ for publicity purposes – what a waste.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      I have certainly seen them rotating in zero wind!

    • Mark
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      The reason is that if they don’t turn, they get uneven wear on their gears and bearings and the gearboxes can seize up, with a rather expensive maintenance bill.

  22. lojolondon
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    It is one of those ironies as we tackle global warming that in recent years in the UK we have had some colder and longer winters

    John, you are sometimes so logical – why has this escaped you? Just read your words above, do the analysis and go onto some good websites.

    There is no global warming, it is a massive scam, and we are paying more for energy and handicapping our economy to fail to deal with a non-existent threat. We, the British public really need our politicians and the BBC to realise this, otherwise the downward spiral will continue.

    Reply Irony?

  23. Neil craig
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    It has been growing for much more than a decade. I would argue that it has been growing for over 40 years when we decided, for purely political reasons, to regulate nuclear power out of existence.

    If European companies in China can build reactors at 1/3rd of the cost of these same reactors in Europe it is clear that the difference is state parasitism not engineering
    Add in the fact that nuclear used to be 40% of the price of our average power generation and that we have had several 10% rises since then and it becomes arithmetically undeniable that at least 90% of the cost of electricity is government parasitism.

    Meanwhile politicians and Luddites are spinning that they are responsible for only 10% by discussing only the climate change levy.

    The good news is that if, like China, we allow the building of as much power as there is a market for & allow them to be built in 3 years, we will have fast falling bills then. With shale gas actually allowed we could have falling prices in 18 months.

    Since there is virtually a 1:1 correlation between gdp and energy use that would get us not just out of recession but into extremely fast growth – after 3 years. Until then the 25,000 killed annually because of fuel poverty will continue.

    If I am correct in saying that the Labour, Conservative, Pseudoliberal, Nationalist, Green cartel have clearly been deliberately responsible for enforcing this Luddism, latterly in the name of a catastrophic global warming scare they knew to be false it is difficult to overestimate their guilt.

    If any politician of these parties denies this & I am correct, I do not think there are any other circumstances under which their word could be trusted.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Since there is virtually a 1:1 correlation between gdp and energy use that would get us not just out of recession but into extremely fast growth – after 3 years. Until then the 25,000 killed annually because of fuel poverty will continue.

      So you’re claiming that there was poor growth between 2010 and 2013 because people weren’t using enough energy. Got any figures to back up this claim.

      • peter davies
        Posted October 20, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        High energy costs have been a drag on growth, simple as – if you had to buy building materials or put fuel into big trucks you would agree.

        When a chip shop has to spend 20% of his outgoings on energy there is clearly something wrong.

  24. Leslie Singleton
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I have been less than impressed by Cameron’s utterings on switching Suppliers. The explanations they have given seem factual enough and if Cameron cannot cancel the items in the Bills that obviously should not be there in the first place he is useless in the matter and would do best to stay schtum.

  25. forthurst
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    “There may be arguments at the margin over how much of the great extra cost is paid for by customers, and how much by taxpayers in subsidies.”

    Subsidies are simply the means by which the government disguises the true cost of electricity produced by the use of half-baked technologies. Why not simply tell the National Grid to purchase all available electricity available on a priority basis, such as PV, Wind, Nuclear, Interconnector, Natural Gas, Coal + Wood chip, coal, standby diesel. That way, the government could maximize the cost to the consumer by ‘saving the planet’ without paying any subsidies at all, simply by allowing the providers to charge the economic cost of their sources of energy production and the National Grid for synchronising and transmitting the electricity into the grid.

    Every time a coal fired power station is taken off line before the end of its useful life, the average cost of electricity to the consumer increases. It is entirely disingenuous to imply that we are paying only 8% on top of our energy bills for the lunacy of those whose belief systems belongs to a pre-scientific age; are we now in a post-scientific age? The education system certainly has been re-engineered to that end.

    According to the latest IPCC report, there has been a hiatus in global warming because the oceans have been sequestering excess heat on the q.t. This heat absorption has been just the right amount, not too little, not too much to level off the hockey stick which was in any case fraudulent. The truth of the matter is that for several years, by setting the appropriate scales, it was made to appear that atmospheric CO2 was rising in tandem with surface temperatures; however, this was not a cause and effect, it was simply a correlation over an extremely short period, in climatic terms, which might equally have been based upon the price of pigmeat in Nanking market. No one has produced a scientific means of using the concentration of atmospheric CO2 to predict climate because none exists; climate is not significantly influenced, never mind controlled by CO2.

    link left out as unchecked

  26. REPay
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    A mature debate in our media would link green energy to dearer energy…and we could debate the merits. However the media prefers the “profiteering energy companies” headlines, though how 5% makes them profiteers in a capital intensive industry is beyond me and simple Green Energy = good.

    I can quite understand the LibDems view of energy, as most of the people I know who are LibDems are well-heeled people for whom their energy bill is not an issue at all. Feeling morally superior is something they are prepared to spend quite a bit of money on. Shame that it is at the expense of everyone else.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      A mature debate in our media would link green energy to dearer energy…and we could debate the merits.

      A mature debate would examine why energy bills are high, rather than just blame it on things you don’t like.

      However the media prefers the “profiteering energy companies” headlines, though how 5% makes them profiteers in a capital intensive industry is beyond me and simple Green Energy = good.

      Energy companies work in the following manner: 1) generate energy, 2) sell this energy to themselves, 3) sell this energy to the public. They make 5% profit from selling energy to the public (step 3) but it’s unknown how much they make between steps 1 and 2.

  27. con
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    John – I’ve just heard Cameron’s comment that people facing higher energy bills (which is everyone) should wear an extra jumper.

    I ask again who is advising this guy or is he really just a couldn’t care less toff? He couldn’t sound further away from people’s concerns if he tried.

    I am coming to the view that he is way out of his depth and it is time for him to go.

    • Rosey Chick
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Since when have we been so rich as to expect to be able walk around the house in T shirts in the depths of winter ?

      Putting on a jumper is a perfectly reasonable suggestion. Modern fibers make for some very warm clothing nowadays. This with double-glazing, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation mean that – heating or no heating – we are already far better off than our grandparents were; might I point out that they were probably more deserving of it than we are too.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      He did not actually quite say that it seems – he is a PR/politician after all. I however can say whatever I want too and an extra jumper and long johns are a great idea, as is just heating just one room, using hot water bottles and keeping active, perhaps by collecting or chopping wood for the fire.

    • Mark
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink
  28. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Pardon my cynicism, but there are one or two sub-plots here. Two of the big six energy companies have raised their prices; I am sure that the other four will follow if they have not already raised prices. If you were faced with the prospect of a 20 month price freeze, wouldn’t you want to get ahead of the game. Getting your retaliation in first is a well established practice. The Coalition’s response is exactly right; sort it out through transparency of pricing and competition. Milliband’s effrontery is breathtaking.

    A light needs shining on the EU’s angelic posture on environmental matters. The following little item appeared in the ‘i’ newspaper edition of Thursday 17 October: “Angela Merkel has been accused of being ‘bought’ after BMW donated €700,000 to her party days before European environment ministers gave in to German demands to scrap an agreement to cap car emissions.” (German made cars are HEAVY; so too are their railway locomotives).

    In the EU all Member States are equal.
    BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS>

  29. Anonymous
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    There isn’t any one driver for high energy prices. Successive Governments (Tories included) have utterly failed us on strategic energy plans.

    We need to get out of our heads the idea that things are getting more expensive; the proper way to explain it is to say that we are getting poorer – this should cause a shift in paradigm. It expresses the simple fact that we are in decline rather more honestly.

    it is not just energy, it is everything that is becoming less affordable. We are going to continue to become poorer. We had better get used to it.

    What beggars belief is that we are being hit by green taxes at the very time that our consumption is being reduced anyway because our money goes nowhere.

    Thank you for your efforts, Mr Redwood, but the contempt for us from your colleagues is quite clear.

  30. Tad Davison
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Oh how I would love the Lib Dem Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert, to come onto this blog and give his take on climate change, the EU, and dear energy. At the last election hustings, he actually said in front of hundreds of people, that he would like to see higher energy prices, and that that prompted calls from the floor of, ‘You can have my gas bill then mate!’ (and I can produce witnesses if necessary).

    It was said he benefitted from the student vote who were largely disaffected Labour voters, disappointed by tuition fees. I wonder if Mr Huppert will come to regret the cost of dear energy and the worst effects of the CCA?

    If not, well, people only get what they vote for.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • forthurst
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      “Oh how I would love the Lib Dem Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert, to come onto this blog and give his take on climate change, the EU, and dear energy.”

      The BBC announced that he was the cleverest MP and therefore the right man to tell the viewers all about the Higgs’ field. Aren’t we so lucky that we have such polymaths as he and Lord Stern to guide the way; “The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75% chance that global temperatures would rise by between two and three degrees above the long-term average; he now believes we are “on track for something like four”. Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, “I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise.” – grauniad

      What on Earth is the long-term average global temperature? How has the situation evolved other than in a cessation of temperature increase, away from the predictions of those whose qualifications for prediction are zilch?

  31. R.T.G.
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    “The government should be generous to the ill and the elderly who have to incur higher bills, through its pensions and disability benefit increases, cold weather payments and the like.”

    I don’t know how younger people feel in general about free bus passes for all the older people who apply for them, but, using this benefit quite a lot in the city where I live, I’ve not noticed poor behaviour on buses during the daytime when there are older people around.

    Also, I see many older people getting out and about and looking the better for it. To put it another way, older people normally feel a bit better and warmer by moving about (as do most people) even if they are quite frail. Perhaps anything that encourages this, including frequent short bus journeys where they are connected, if only briefly, with the world outside their front door, might be considered beneficial.

    And for the UK economy, some money spent, some money saved most probably.

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic:

    http://www.european-solidarity.eu/

    “A group of European economists presented ‘European Solidarity Manifesto’ – a proposition to solve the current Eurozone crisis through a controlled dismantlement of the Eurozone via the exit of the most competitive countries and an agreement on a new currency coordination system in Europe.”

    It dates back to January, but apparently the news is that former EU Internal Market and Services Commissioner Frits Bolkestein has added his name to it.

  33. Bazman
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    As pointed out before no man made eco system has survived, so this idea that putting unlimited amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere and hoping it will cause no effects or the the effects will be positive is unwise whether it be foreign or British CO2. Its a worldwide and massive problem that cannot be tackled by fatalistic right wing fantasy. Developing countries and ourselves need clean and sustainable energy. If 95% of scientists had said man made global warming was not a problem then you would all agree without knowing why. Feelings do not trump science and most of the sources you quote are dubious at best.
    Maybe all you right wing fantasists could also tell me how working in menial job for a pittance is a way out of poverty too? No I am not unemployed and do not work for low wages. The employers can pay or ram it.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Baz
      You are getting over excited considering since records began ( 1880 apparently) the rise in global average temperature is less than one degree.
      Control over CO2 levels will require total agreement by every nation on the planet firstly to reduce levels and then to adjust levels for eternity to keep the world’s thermostat at an agreed level.
      Do you really ever see this level of agreement happening?
      Presumably left wing fantasists think the answer is yes.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Changes to human existence will have to happen whether by force of nature or by man. When large numbers begin to perish because of global warming or the results of then there will be change. Lets hope it does not come to this the earth will survive us though for sure. Putting unlimited Co2 will have no detrimental effect you blindly hope and if it does them we are doomed anyway is what you are saying. Fatalistic right wing religious belief in the western world is alive and well like communism is in England.
        Ram it.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 20, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          Avoiding answering the points I raised with a copy and paste rant as usual.
          Less that one degree average global temperature rise in over 100 years.
          Can you not cope with this huge temperature change without dying Baz?
          What is the correct global average temperature going to be in your fantasy world?
          Are you going to ask everyone on the planet for their best guess?

          • Bazman
            Posted October 21, 2013 at 5:40 am | Permalink

            This s not the problem is it? As I said blind fatalistic right wing fantasy of doing nothing and hoping for a good outcome. Like banking, but this debt cannot be repaid.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

            No anwers to any of the key points raised as usual.
            Just a cut and paste rant
            If you believe mankind can achieve a global agreement of all nations and then control the climate of this planet for ever more then it isn’t me who is a fantasist.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            So just do nothing and join the race to the bottom? Fail to sell new technology? Fail to prevent 100’s of millions of dirty fires lit every night? Fail to lead the way in making fossil fuel uneconomical by new technologies as yet unimagined? We would still be in the stone age by your ideology. I could say fantasy, but that requires imagination which you and the likes of you clearly do not have. Look at the march of lighting from Fire to LED. How did we get to this imperfect harsh, expensive LED and how are we going to have lighting using almost no energy?
            etc ed

          • Edward2
            Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

            Yet another generalised rant which again fails to answer any of the points raised Baz.
            Who said do nothing?
            Not me
            Innovation in new technology?
            Yes please, but not false cures supported by huge subsidy.
            The nations you shout about like the usa and the uk lead in pollution control and waste recycling because they are able to spend the money needed.
            Your negative policies will impoverish them and lead to worse not better conditions

  34. gpmgroup
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    If you want to make a real difference to the most vulnerable, there is I believe, a very simple change which could be made that would significantly reduce their bills.

    At the moment there is a higher charge for the first x units of gas and the first x units of electricity, which pay for the “standing charge”. If this was removed and reapportioned across all usage it would mean those using the least electricity and gas should see significant reductions in their bills.

    It would also help the stated aim of simplifying tariffs and bills.

  35. Stewart Knight
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I wish politicians would stop talking such utter drivel about energy prices. The only effective way to limit price rises is to limit profit margins, and even then that is folly too as it is profits that pay for most investment.

    Why does someone, nudge nudge, not come out openly and say that Millibands sixth form schoolboy debater appeal to the lowest common denominator to win votes is dishonest and if prices are capped then the companies wont take less profit in the real world, they will pass the loss of profit on to the consumers, and the service will inevitably decline with lack of investment?

    Mind you, Labour deliberately and vindictively ran down the Royal Mail for ideological reasons, can’t sell a successful public company, to such a bad state that the public are now quite keen to see it unloaded on to private enterprise…and all them lovely votes decrying privatisation…..

    Politicians have got to start telling it is as it is, and let’s start with energy.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      The services already are in decline because of lack of investment. That’s why the Government is asking China to pay for a new nuclear power plant, rather than UK energy companies.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 20, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Our nuclear manufacturing capability was sold off by Blair.

  36. uanime5
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    It is one of those ironies as we tackle global warming that in recent years in the UK we have had some colder and longer winters.

    One of the problems caused by climate change is more extreme weather. So we may end up with hotter summers and colder winters.

    The government should be generous to the ill and the elderly who have to incur higher bills, through its pensions and disability benefit increases, cold weather payments and the like.

    Unfortunately the Government’s current position seems to be wear a jumper instead of using your heating.

    The EU experiment with very expensive renewable power from unreliable sources like wind will not power our factories or keep us warm on a regular basis. To do that we will need those standby power stations burning gas.

    Given that gas is a finite resource sooner, rather than later, we will need to get all our energy from renewables.

    Reply The PM said nothing about jumpers.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      “One of the problems caused by climate change is more extreme weather.”

      Except, Polly, that there is no objective evidence of a significant increase in the incidence of extreme weather events in the world.

      There has been a tremendous increase in the incidence of extreme weather events on our television screens, but not in the real world.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        Indeed Denis and I whilst I’ve noticed colder winters recently, as Uni claims, I have not noticed any hotter summers

      • uanime5
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        What about the increase in the number of category 5 hurricanes?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          What about that increase, if there has been an increase?

        • Big John
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          > What about the increase in the number of category 5 hurricanes?

          That paper by webster where he claims an 80% increase in category 5 hurricanes, has been proved incorrect.

          A comparison of the most recent ten years data(1995-2004) with the previous ten years (1985-1994) shows almost no increase in Category 4 and 5 storms globally, during a period when a substantial increase in sea surface temperatures occurred.

  37. Vanessa
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    As has been said before – repeal the Climate Change Act. You may not have dreamt it up but you are all in collusion with Labour by keeping this idiotic law and trying to work round it. REPEAL IT ! This government does not have to be bound by the last !!

    Reply But this Act is also now entrenched in EU law, and has a Lib Dem Minister supporting it

  38. Bazman
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    How are all you anti subsidy, but pro nuclear fantasists going to square off your nuclear quackery with EDF being promised around double the wholesale price of electricity to persuade them to start work on the construction Hinckley point nuclear power station in partnership with China and other foreign countries such as Japan which has all but abandoned nuclear, as has Germany? Double the price? Is that more or less than wind power? Four out of the big six which control 98% of the market are foreign owned whether that be France, Germany or Spain. I bet the customers in these countries are not facing the same price hikes. Their governments would not allow it nor give long term handouts to the Chinese or French instead of developing alternative power sources. handouts to Put your jumpers on and ram it.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Well if you don’t get some greatly increased capacity of power generation in the UK soon Baz you will need a torch and some candles to go with your jumper.

      Nuclear has to be in the mix along with all the other forms.
      I’m sure you know that trying to rely on just green sustainable forms of energy production won’t provide for our needs.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 21, 2013 at 5:44 am | Permalink

        The money spent on putting money into the pockets of foreign companies and dubious Chinese ones promoted by Bambi Osborne and Thumper Johnston could have been used more efficiently or subsidising fuel bills. There is no getting away from this.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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